Officer's actions during prostitution sting questioned



HOMESTEAD, Pa. - A prostitution sting in Homestead last month has raised some questions about an officer's actions.

Homestead council members held a meeting Monday night to discuss the officer's alleged misconduct during a March 20 bust on Sarah Street.

According to police paperwork, Diana Gross was arrested after she began to perform a sex act on an undercover officer.

The paperwork stated that moments later, the officer said police were on their way. The officer then detained Gross until backup arrived.

Council members said they think the officer went too far, but the Homestead Police Union representative disagreed.

The Homestead chief of police and District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the officer’s actions were OK and he has not been suspended.

However, Beth Pittinger of the Citizens Police Review Board said while the officer’s actions aren’t illegal in Pennsylvania, they were unethical.

“It’s offensive, and it's my understanding that once a deal is made, the offering party may be arrested. You don't have to proceed until you're having sex,” Pittinger said.

Zappala sent a statement to all local police departments after a similar case in 2010 saying: “While it’s not inappropriate for a police officer to take off his clothes in connection with a prostitution investigation, if an officer engages in a sexual act, this may constitute outrageous government conduct.”

Michael Waltman, the attorney representing the woman arrested, said he's willing to take the case to the federal level.

“We have an officer who has complete disregard. That's complete arrogance on both of their parts and completely unacceptable,” Waltman said.